Governor Cuomo Announces Administrative Appointments, AGC NYS Provides Commentary

Just this morning, Governor Cuomo announced changes at the Thruway and NYSDOT. Matthew Driscoll assumes duty as the Executive Director of the NYS Thruway Authority. With Matt’s departure, Cathy Calhoun, NYSDOT’s current Chief of Staff, will serve as Acting Commissioner.  We had heard rumblings for weeks that this change might occur. 

 

Both agencies are in need of strong leadership and commitment to adequate funding for true asset management and rehabilitation of the highway systems and it is good that AGC NYS already has relationships with the leaders in their newly assigned positions.

Press Release from the Governor’s Office:

Governor Cuomo Announces Administration Appointments

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced Matthew Driscoll will be nominated Executive Director of the Thruway Authority and Cathy Calhoun will serve as Acting Commissioner of the Department of Transportation. Governor Cuomo thanked Bill Finch for his service as Executive Director of the Thruway Authority.

“Matthew Driscoll and Cathy Calhoun are both dedicated public servants who exemplify what it means to serve the people of New York, and I am proud they will continue their service in these new leadership positions,” Governor Cuomo said. “The Thruway Authority and Department of Transportation are critical to improving infrastructure in every corner of this state, and as they transition to their new roles, I look forward to working alongside these experienced leaders to ensure the safety and stability of New York infrastructure for generations to come.”

“I am grateful to Governor Cuomo for his leadership on transportation issues and am honored to become executive director of the New York State Thruway Authority,” said former Department of Transportation Commissioner Matthew Driscoll. “I look forward to working with the very capable men and women of the authority in implementing the Governor’s vision for reimagining transportation infrastructure across New York State.”

Cathy Calhoun said, “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, the Department of Transportation has invested in historic infrastructure projects across New York to support the future strength and vitality of the entire state. I look forward to working with the Governor to build on this success and continue to move New York’s infrastructure forward.”

Matthew Driscoll will be nominated to serve as Executive Director of the Thruway Authority. Mr. Driscoll previously served as Commissioner of the New York State Department of Transportation where he helped launch the Governor’s historic $100 billion, five-year plan to renew New York’s aging infrastructure. Prior to that, Mr. Driscoll served as President and CEO of the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation, where he implemented new business models which have resulted in record-setting investments in New York’s clean water infrastructure. Mr. Driscoll has also held a number of cabinet positions in Governor Cuomo’s administration, including Co-Chair of the New York State Storm Recovery Task Force, member of the Strategic Implementation Assessment Team to assist in the progress of the Regional Economic Development Council, and board member of the Financial Restructuring Board, which delivers targeted restructuring solutions to assist New York municipalities under fiscal stress. Prior to these roles, Mr. Driscoll was twice elected mayor of the City of Syracuse, where he earned Syracuse national recognition for energy conservation, sustainability initiatives and environmental protection efforts. He also instituted a performance-based accountability program for city government, called SyraStat, which saved millions of dollars for city taxpayers. The Thruway Board of Directors will meet to name Matthew Driscoll Acting Executive Director of the Thruway Authority. He will be nominated for official Senate confirmation in January.

Cathy Calhoun will serve as Acting Commissioner of the Department of Transportation, to continue New York’s landmark plan to invest $100 billion in the modernization of aging infrastructure across the state. In this role, Ms. Calhoun will lead the Governor’s $100 billion, five-year infrastructure plan to help reduce congestion and air pollution, and improve the safety of motorists on New York roads. Previously, Ms. Calhoun served as Chief of Staff at the Department of Transportation. Ms. Calhoun previously served as a Central New York representative for former U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton. Ms. Calhoun also previously worked for former Governor David Paterson in intergovernmental affairs.

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Statement from AGC NYS President & CEO Mike Elmendorf on Gov. Cuomo’s Nomination of Matthew Driscoll to Servce as Executive Director of the New York State Thruway Authority:

 

“We commend Governor Cuomo on his nomination of Matt Driscoll to serve as Executive Director of the New York State Thruway Authority.

 

Over these last two years, New York’s construction industry has worked closely with Matt Driscoll as Commissioner of the New York State Department of Transportation. He has proven himself to be an effective, accessible and responsive leader and partner.

 

We look forward to Matt Driscoll putting his considerable experience and energy to work at the Thruway Authority where, to be sure, there are real challenges.

 

As a 60-year old system that has largely exceeded its useful life, the Thruway system as a whole is in need of significant reconstruction.  The heart of the New York State Thruway is its pavement and bridges.  Although construction of the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge is a significant step forward, across the State the Thruway has more than 600 bridges or structures over 60 years old that must be rebuilt or replaced.  Similarly, the Thruway has been reconstructing less than half of the line miles needed to reach their own 20-year reconstruction goal.  The Thruway’s capital plan is only a fraction of what is necessary to meet these growing needs; and the failure to meet needs means a further decline in the condition of this critical lifeline for New York’s economy and residents.

 

AGC NYS looks forward to working with Matt Driscoll and his team to meet these challenges and rebuild the New York State Thruway.  Our economy and communities depend on it.

 

We also look forward to continuing to work with Cathy Calhoun as she steps in as Acting Commissioner, building on the long and successful partnership between NYSDOT and New York’s construction industry.”

 

To read this statement as a PDF, click here.